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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

ESPN -- Are you ready for some Nascar?

Last night the Dallas Cowboys made their first appearance on the icon known as Monday Night Football. Not that I am a big 'Cowboy' fan, this did give me an opportunity to watch this production from start to finish for the first time this season and since ESPN took over MNF.

Realizing the ESPN will also be taking over a portion of Nascar broadcasts next season, and also realizing how their broadcasts have a somewhat 'legendary' status among many of the Nascar faithful, it was time to see a few things.

Starting with the pre-game, even there it seems that ESPN is searching for a story, with any 'angle' they can come up with be it something that is legitimate, or simply sensationalism. We see this same type of thing in College Football with 'ESPN Gameday' productions. There is already enough of this type of thing with the Speed Channel's 'Nascar This Morning' productions. I could be wrong on this, but it seems that Nascar fans just want the facts in their most basic forms. No flashy graphics, no 'Susie Kolber man voice' sideline interviews in which there is little substance and sometimes have nothing to do with the event, but because a celebrity was in attendance, the producers felt it was interview worthy. Meanwhile, a play or two is missed because of this, can you wonder how the Nascar Faithful will flame if the 'big one' is missed because of a 'garage interview' with some rock star?

The almost mythical legend that some Nascar fans have put on the old ESPN broadcasts is something that the new show's producers are going to have to live up too. After all, according to many of these fans, 'old ESPN' never missed a restart, took fewer commercial breaks and didn't only focus on a handful of cars at the front of the pack. Frankly, those assumptions cannot be further from the truth, and one only has to watch a couple of 'ESPN Classic' broadcasts to see that. While their productions in the 80s were truly innovative, they were little different from what we have today.

If I had one wish that the new ESPN production crew would grant, that would be for ESPN to not try and re-invent the wheel. No matter how hard one tries, that wheel is not going to get any rounder. ESPN is making that mistake with Monday Night Football, I hope they learn their lesson come next fall when they take over some Nascar Broadcasts.


Thurman1515 said...

From a production standpoint, last night game may have been one of the worst broadcasts of a major sporting event ever. ESPN seems to think that since they have 15 or so poeple with Mics, that they needs to use them all multiple times during games.

There were many times last night that key re-plays were missed becuase of some non game related interview.

Gvav1 said...

Great analysis! I've only been focused on ESPN's Nascar "hype" so far. I do believe they have some positives in their favor...Neil Goldberg returns as producer, and Jerry Punch is the lead announcer! FOX broadcasts are more flashy than NBC's, but they back it up with strong content. Flashy is in these days. Boomer Sooner and Go Vols!

SNAFAM said...

Hmmmm! Found this:

New ESPN2 NASCAR Show: Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley and Jeremy Mayfield, will be featured during this weekend's premiere of "NASCAR Driver's Non-Stop." The reality-based show accompanied Bowyer recently on his vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and to the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. The program also highlights Bowyer's go-kart exploits at Muddy Creek International Speedway, located near his North Carolina home. "NASCAR Driver's Non-Stop" premieres Sunday, October 29 at 11:00pm/et on espn2.(10-25-2006)

Do they really think they will launch a successful new series in the time slot of 11 PM on a Sunday? I think not!